GrassSolutions Hoffman Nursery Newsletter
In this issue:
  • Twin Cities Adventure: Perennial Plant Symposium 2016
  • Plants Do the Work
  • Making Meadows and Prairies
  • A Slice of Heaven
  • Summer with Zack
Twin Cities Adventure:
Perennial Plant
Symposium 2016

The   Perennial Plant Association's annual Symposium is a unique gathering of industry professionals and perennial plant enthusiasts. This year's event, held in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, was a whirlwind week of tours, presentations, and networking events. Nursery owners John and Jill Hoffman attended, along with Shannon Currey, our Marketing Director.

Garden Tours
While the talks throughout the symposium are wonderful, the tours are part of what make this event special. Attendees can choose tours that focus on retail garden centers, on wholesale growers, or on garden design. In this post, we'll share images from the Design Tour. We loved the mix of public and private gardens, all of which blended functional and ornamental elements beautifully. 

Join us for a small taste of our day touring sites in the Minneapolis area.
Plants Do the Work

Plants play key roles in our landscapes--cleaning and managing water, reducing erosion, supporting wildlife, requestering carbon, and improving our health and well-being.  Several recent articles address how plants are being used to manage stormwater and create beautiful environments. It's green infrastructure at its best.

Using Plants to Manage Stormwater
This recent article by Debbie Hamrick of North Carolina Farm Bureau is one of the best summaries of this field we've seen. She explains in simple, understandable terms the regulatory pressures driving cities and urban areas to use plants rather than traditional, built structures. She describes the potential for the green industry to get involved and addresses market forces that are driving demand for plants--like grasses and sedges--that work well in these projects. It's a must-read for those interested in green infrastructure and emerging markets. Read the article.

Also, if you haven't checked out Hamrick's newTerrain website and newsletter, they're worth your time. Both are packed with information and links on green infrastructure and the functional aspects of plants and green spaces. They cover a wide range of topics, but it just takes a quick glance to figure out what direction you want to go.

Ed Snodgrass of Emory Knoll Farms has been designing and growing plants for green roofs for many years. He's acutely aware of the power of plants to solve problems and improve our surroundings. Susan Harris visited Snodgrass at his home in Maryland, where he has created garden spaces to manage stormwater. They're interesting, they're diverse, and they look fantastic. Harris wrote a post on Garden Rant that explores his stormwater gardens. Read more.

The city of Houston is looking for better and more affordable ways to prevent flooding. They're planning to create landscape "sponges" that soak up water and increase communities' resilience to severe weather events. Plants are key in this plan. You can read more in this Houston Chronicle article.

(Note that you can read the last article only a few times before being required to subscribe for access.)
A Slice of Heaven

Blue Heaven Little Bluestem
We recently experienced a slice of Heaven. It was courtesy of a fantastic grass,  Blue Heaven® Little Bluestem.

Our team visited the Twin Cities area in Minnesota to attend the Perennial Plant Symposium. We saw lots of Little Bluestem. Most of the time, it was the cultivar, Blue Heaven®. It's one of our favorites here in North Carolina, so we were doubly impressed with how well it was performing in the Upper Midwest.

We've posted images of Blue Heaven ® from our trip and from gardens in North Carolina. S ee why we think this is one of the best cultivars out there in this   blog post.
Making Meadows and Prairies

Wildflower Meadows - Let's Get Real
Larry Weaner has been making meadows and fine-tuning his techniques for decades. His recent book, Garden Revolution, outlines his approach and explains how our landscapes are agents for significant change.

And in a recent post, designer and plantsman Larry Weaner gives us the real scoop on creating wildflower meadows. He notes that grasses and sedges are fundamental to a successful planting, so you don't want to miss this. Read on.

Prairies, Pollinators, the Public
In Columbia, Missouri, a 15-acre prairie is emerging. Once a field where cattle grazed, it's becoming a home for native plants and pollinators. It will also serve as an educational tool for the local school system. Native grasses are a key element in this prairie restoration project, holding down the soil, competing with weeds, and providing shelter for birds and small mammals. Read more about the initiative.

To delve more into plants and pollinator biology and habitat, try this excellent publication from the NRCS.

Grassland Restoration Workshop
Prairie restoration workshop
If you're interested in prairie restoration, here's a wonderful opportunity. The Grassland Restoration Network hosts a workshop each fall that provides networking and information for  people working on prairie restoration and conservation. You can see more via the Prairie Ecologist website. To get specifics on the workshop, go to this post

For interesting summaries of past workshops and a collection of lessons learned, start with this post.
Zack Spence, our intern this summer, and Jill Hoffman. Zack made this plaque for the nursery. It now hangs on the front of the main office.
Summer with Zack

Zack Spence is a senior horticulture major at North Carolina State University.  His short-term goal is to learn all he can about being a grower at a wholesale nursery.   He did an internship with Hoffman Nursery this summer and definitely covered the bases. He learned about maintaining stock beds, worked with the growers on  techniques and IPM practices, helped out in propagation, and completed several irrigation and construction projects. 

He spent time in every department learning about what we do.  At the end of his internship, he gave a talk outlining what he'd learned and thanking everyone for their support.

His long-term goal is to one day manage a wholesale nursery, and we think he took a giant step toward that this summer. Thanks to Zack for being quick to smile, eager to learn, and ready to take on any task. We wish him the best of luck!

Interested in learning more about our internship program? Go to our careers page.
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